Lions lose a team leader; Johnson out for season with torn ACL

The men’s basketball team lost both games they played last week, but in an even more unfortunate turn of events, they lost senior guard Brandon Johnson for the season to a torn ACL.

Johnson was averaging 2.8 points, 1.3 assists, 0.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game before his injury. His season high in points came in a Jan. 20 matchup with Hunter College, when he dropped 15 points on the Hawks in a resounding win for the College.

Johnson was a solid contributor. (Ashley Long / Photo Editor)

The Signal was not able to get any further information on Johnson’s injury other than a brief statement from head coach Kelly Williams, who said that he has “been dealing with a major injury to our team,” and confirmed that Johnson tore his ACL.

More information about Johnson’s injury will be shared as it is learned.

In their most recent game, on Saturday, Jan. 29 against Montclair State University, the College unfortunately dropped to the Red Hawks by the score of 68-57.

However, the score doesn’t tell the whole story, as the team made a big comeback after being down 18 points at the half.

“Our energy against Montclair in the second half was excellent and we can carry it over for the next two weeks,” Williams said.

Senior guard Al Matlock went off, dropping 17 against the Red Hawks and having one of his best games of the season. Matlock’s brother, Emmanuel, dropped four points of his own while also dishing four assists and nabbing three steals.

Shooting percentage was the Lions’ Achilles’ heel in the game, especially in the first half. The team shot 33 percent for the game, but a paltry 20 percent in the first half on seven-of-35 shooting.

“We struggled shooting,” Williams said. “Right now, we have to make shots down the stretch of the season. I believe we are due for shots to start falling.”

The team also had a tough loss on Wednesday, Jan. 25 to Eastern Connecticut State University, currently No. 18 in the country, by a score of 76-53. No Lion scored in double figures in the game.

The Lions, while sitting at 8-13, still have a chance at the NJAC playoffs with four games remaining on their schedule. This is due to the fact that they play in the weaker NJAC South division. Their important stretch begins with a tough home game against the 14-6 Richard Stockton College Ospreys.

“Our energy and execution must be at its highest level at this time of year,” Williams said. “We have a chance to make the playoffs, so we must play desperate and defend for a complete game.”

Williams believes that the upperclassmen really need to give it their all in these final weeks if the team hopes to make the NJAC playoffs shorthanded.

“We need our seniors to step up down the stretch,” Williams said. “We have to depend on (Donovan) Smalls, (Al) Matlock, and (Kyle) Rawson to pick their production up offensively and defensively.”